On Monday we saw God holding Job up to Satan as a righteous man and giving Satan permission to bother Job – but not touch him personally. Here’s what Satan did:
Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and there came a messenger to Job and said,
· “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said,
· “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said,
· “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said,
· “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. Job 1:13-22 (ESV)
Talk about a bad day! If that had been YOUR day, would your first act have been worship? For most of us, the honest answer is “no”.
Satan is very powerful. In a short time, with God’s permission, Satan was able to take everything away from Job except his health and life. However, Job didn’t respond as Satan predicted, and Satan went back to God.
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:1-10 (ESV)
Satan gets another try at Job, and this time he’s allowed to make Job sick. Job’s wife was amazed that Job didn’t curse God and die. Job knew there was a plan and that he had to trust God, and he refused to say anything against God.
Have you ever gone through a trial and had friends or family members tell you to turn from God? How did that make you feel? Were you convinced you needed to stand by God, or were you tempted to listen to your friends?
So far we’ve seen some pretty vicious attacks against Job. Who was really in control? It wasn’t Satan – he needs permission to do anything. God is ultimately in control!
Now for some navel-gazing. If Satan went to God today, would God have enough confidence in your integrity to let Satan do what he wanted? If your honest answer is “no”, what areas of your life need some strengthening? Do you think that your weaknesses make you generally more or less vulnerable to attacks by the enemy? Are there areas in your life where you frequently succumb to temptation?
When you go through trials, how does your behavior compare with Job’s? What parts of your life need to change so you can go through trials with the integrity of Job?
We’re coming closer to the new year, and people frequently start to think about resolutions. Perhaps your resolution for 2013 would be to develop more integrity so you can withstand the enemy’s attacks like Job.
See you Monday!